Sunday, October 23, 2011

Domanine de Montille Wine Tasting

Friday, October 21, 2011

Wine Country,, in Signal Hill hosted Michael Sullivan from Beaune Imports and Etienne De Montille head of the family estate Domaine de Montille  in Volnay tonight for a burgundy tasting. This was one of the better tasting I have done in quite awhile. Etienne is also the wine maker and manager at Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet.

We tasted 6 reds and 5 whites tonight. Etienne was very informative about his wines and the Burgundy area of France. These were all Grand Cru wines tonight.  Makes you want to take a trip just to Burgundy to taste all that is available.

I ended up purchasing a 2008 Domaine de Montille Beaune 1er Cru Les Sizies, 2008 Domaine de Montille Pommard 1er Cru Les Pezerolles and a 2007 DEuxMontille Auxey-Duresses (white burgundy).

This tasting was sold out and they added extra seats and really pushed people close together, As usual I got there early so I could grab a seat at the front. When I sit in the back area I have a hard time hearing when the noise level gets high after a few glasses of wine. I am glad I signed up for this tasting weeks ago.

Autumn Wine Dinner at Utopia

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Utopia restaurant on Long Beach hosted a Autumn wine dinner this evening. Their pricing is always good, $45, so it becomes an OK dinner to attend. The wines are never high end but the food is decent and its a chance to get together for dinner.

The City of Long Beach has decided to dedicate more street space to the bicycle riders which is probably great if you are one of them. But in doing so they have taken away numerous parking spaces for cars Parking in downtown Long Beach is always a hassle but now its worse. I found a spot close to the restaurant after only one trip around the block. My dining companions found a spot over four blocks away  after 3 trips around the block. The food at Utopia is alright but to me not worth the longer walk to get there.

We started off with "Stuffed Roasted Roma Tomatoes with Pesto Goat Cheese, Chopped Black Olives and Fresh Herbs. Good dish, the stuffing was tasty  Served with a 2010 Jacob's Creek Chardonnay. Decent Chardonnay for a cheap wine and it paired well with the dish.

Next was a Seared Ahi With Fresh Ginger, Garlic & Fresh Thyme Sesame Sauce. They poured a 2010 Stoneligh Sauvignon Blanc. It was terrible and did not pair well with the dish at all. Do not know whose idea that was but is was a disaster, I had them take the Sau Blanc away and replace it with the Chardonnay which was a much better pairing. Margie had substituted deep fried artichoke hearts for the ahi and the Sau Blanc was much better with that dish.

Main course was a Grilled Filet Mignon with Chopped Shallots, mushrooms and Balsamic Reduction Sauce. Flavor of the sauce was good. I had asked for my filet to be "just this side of dead" and it came out medium. Hate to think what it would be alike if I had ordered it medium rare. The wine  poured was a 2009 Stoneleigh Pinot Noir. It was a decent wine.

Dessert was the best dish of today's meal. Homemade Crispy Apple Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream. They could have kept the wine which was a Sandeman Ruby Port. Cheap Port and not that good tasting.

If the parking situation does not improve this may be the last dinner at Utopia. Their food is OK but not the quality that I would be inconvenienced for.

Delius Annual Passport Tasting

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Delius Restaurant in  Signal Hill hosts a "Passport" wine tasting the 2nd Sunday in October. I have been attending these tastings  for well over ten years. This is the first time that I did not get to taste the majority of the wines.  The set up was good , the food was great so it was not the restaurants fault. Our "group" was sitting in the Prix Fixe dining room away from the "action". Not a good choice for me. So next year I will be out in the main room even if I sit alone.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

ABC Fine Wines and Spirits in Long Beach was having a Stag's Leap Wine Cellars tasting this evening.  This is the higher end "Stag's Leap". Frankly I could  never  remember which label was what unless I looked at the prices. Very confusing.   The cheaper of the two is Stags Leap Cellars, no aposthrope between the g and s in the word "stag" and it has the leaping deer. The higher end label is Stag's Leap Wine Cellars and has a standing deer. I still don't think I will remember 1 year from now.

Mike Gallo from Southern Wines was pouring. He asked if I had heard of Justin. They just took it on as a client. My comment was a nice wine but very overpriced for what is was. He looked a little taken back.  But I speak what I think. Its my personal opinion and a lot of people do not agree with me.

They poured 6 wines tonight. A sau blanc & a chardonnay were the whites,  OK  but. The 2007 Merlot was next. At $46 for tonight's pricing - not worth it.

Next came the 2007 Artemis Cab, 2008  Fay Cab and the 2008 SLV Cab. I have had all of these wines before. Nice wines , overpriced. The Artemis was lacking a back finish. I felt it was weak. The Fay Cab was a little better but at $80 it should  have been really good and it wasn't. The SLV was the best of the night but it still lacked what I expect in a $120 bottle.

My way of thinking is if you as a winery,  expect to get top dollars then produce a wine that deserves it. Don't lie on your laurels from previous years.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Oktoberfest at Delius

Friday. September 30, 2011

  A celebration started by King Ludwig for his upcoming marriage to some broad. Undoubtedly a "princess".  The Germans have perfected this into a mass marketing fest. Good thing to. What we we do in October if we didn't have this month long party leading up to Halloween ?

This was a last minute reservation for me. Delius had some cancellations so they sent a email out in the afternoon. In a few hours it was sold out again.

We started out with a Savory Fig & Goat Cheese Tart served with a Hofbrau Oktoberfest. A liitle bitterness to the beer but a good pairing.

Second Course was an Arugula Salad, Smoke Trout, Beer Vinaigrette and Rubarb Gelee. My trout still had fine bones in it and that did not make me happy.  But the beer did, a  Bitburger Pils. I have had this beer before and it is good.

Third Course: Veal Mushroom Stew, Polenta Cakes and Beer Focaccia. This was my favorite dish of the evening. Full of flavor and the focaccia really sopped up the gravy. A Schneider Hopfenweiss was served. Not for me. Too hoppy.

Fourth Course was a  Leg of Lamb, Mint Pesto and Heirloom Tomato Risotto. The risotto needed some more cooking time. Flavor was excellent but just slightly "al dente" for me.  Served with a Weihenstephaner Festbier. This brewery was started in the year 1040.

Dessert was a Hazelnut Tart, Beer Scented Ice Cream and Caramel. Served with a Weihenstephaner Dopplebock. Dopplebocks are always good. They can be dessert themselves.

Everyone got to take their glass home. There was a variety on the tables. I had a "Old Speckled Hen" glass which I think Dave & Fred gave to me deliberately. So I now have a new glass to add the my beer glass collection.   Different beers call for different glasses, same as wine.

Last Stand at The Seafood Palace (maybe)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

6 of us ended up at the Seafood Palace in Westminister tonight. We keep thinking that this will be the last dinner here but we might squeeze one more in before Doung Son reopens.

We started off with Salt & Pepper Calamari with Jalapenos. Went well with the sparkling wines. Then shrimp with Chinese broccoli.  A new soup came. I looked at the liquid which was grey with green something floating . The green was cilantro and it had diced 1000 year old eggs and finely sliced pork. It definitely tasted much better than it looked. I ended up having two bowls of it.  Never judge something by the looks you might be surprised.

Beef with soft noddles and vegetables appeared along with Shredded Pork with fish sauce,  Boneless chicken with spinach and Thin Rice noodles Singapore Style with curry rounded out the meal. I am not a curry fan and this was over heavy with the curry. I had a taste and that was it.  The others seemed to like it.

We had a Von Buhl Riesling Brut sparkling along with a Louis Bouillot Rose of Pinot Sparkling. Both were good choices for the meal. 2008 Joseph Swan Saralees Vineyard, Roussane/Marsanne blend. I am not a big fan of Rhone whites so I did not even taste this wine.

I brought a 2005 Kosta Browne Russian River Pinot Noir along with the Von Buhl sparkling. The KB was really showing well. It was one of the first bottles to be emptied.

2007 Rusack Santa Maria Piniot Noir, 2006 Argeano Brunello (thought for sure John would bring a Cab) , 2003 Turner Road Caberent Sauvignon which was very nice. And there was another bottle of red but for some reason did not get on the list.

As normal we closed the place up. I like these dinners for 6 people. Smaller tables, better conversations.  Maybe one more before the end of October.

Lunch at Prime Cut

Orange County Wine Week is in full swing.  Paul & Margie and I decided to try lunch at a place called "Prime Cut" in Anaheim. Next to the Honda Center. There is a complex that is nothing but movie theaters and restaurants.  The restaurant itself is very "art deco" and looks like it should be on the west side of Los Angeles, It is a single owned establishment not a chain.  They list a 3 course lunch for $20 but since we got there at 2:00 we could also order the 3 course dinner for $45. Paul & Margie opted for the lunch and I went for the dinner. 3 wines (3 ounces each)  came with the meals and there also was no corkage so I brought on a bottle of Von Buhl Riesling Brut sparkling  and Paul & Margie brought a Merry Edwards Pinot Noir.

Paul ordered the string onions off the appetizer menu to start. They were very good. Went well with the sparkling.

 Margie selected the menu with Tomato Bisque soup with 2009 Leese Fitch, Sonoma Merot, Filet Mignon Tacos with 2008 Chateau De Bel Caberbet Sauvignon, Bordeaux Superior and fresh baked chocolate chip cookies for dessert with NV Alvear, Pedro Jiminez Sherry, Montilla-Moriles, Solera 1927.

Paul had the Mixed Greens salad with2010 Nautilus Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough New Zealand. The Prime Cut Cheeseburger with the same Cabernet as Margie and the cookies with sherry same as Margie.

Both said their food was good. They were nice sized portions.

Since I went for the dinner I started with a Cheese Fondue and it came with a Segura Viudas, Cava, Spain. So both the sparklings went well with this dish. Main course was Braised Short Ribs with Marscarpone Polenta and roasted root vegetables. A 2008 Treana Caberent/Syrah blend form Paso Robles was served. Not a big fan of Treana wines so I was glad I had the Merry Ewards Pinot to drink. For dessert I choose Creme Brulee and it was served with the same sherry that Paul & Margie had.

The sherry went well with the cookies but not with the creme brulee. The sparkling was a better choice. 

Nice restaurant, service was slow but the servers were extremely pleasant. They have a room set for up the 12 people for private dining. Their regular menu looked good. They age all their beef up to 3 weeks.  I think getting a group to go that distance from the Long Beach area would be difficult. I am about 20 minutes closer than they would be. But some day maybe we will try.

All "Hog" Dinner & Croatian Wines at Michaels

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Michales of Naples,, hosted a all "HOG" dinner this evening. Every dish was pork. This old broad was in Seventh Heaven.  Stetson Robbins of Blue Danube Wines was pouring Croatian wines tonight and the biggies from the Croatian embassy were there. The dinner sold out.

We started out with a Crostini of Headcheese with Peppadew Peppers. Peppers were slightly sweet, crostini was thin and the headcheese divine. A 2009 Daruvar, Grasevina (grape) from Slavonia was the wine. This wine really came alive after warming up a bit. When it was cold it had an acidic taste to it which seemed to disappear after it warmed up a few degrees. Similar to a Sauvignon Blanc.

Next up was Braised Pork Belly with Poached Duck Egg and Arugula Salad.  Nice dish but I still prefer Delius' pork belly. The wine was a 2009 Krajancic, Intrada, Posip (grape) from the island of Korcula. This was a white wine also.  This was a nice pairing.

A plate of Potato Gnocchi with Slow Cooked Pork Ragu appeared. This was my favorite dish of the evening. The ragu was excellent, great flavor and the gnocchi was cooked to perfection. Light and delicate.   Not the lead anchors that The Factory served. If Michael's served nothing else that night I would have been happy.  A 2009 Dingac Winery, "Peljesac", Plavac Mali (grape), from the Peljesac Peninsula on the Dalmatian Coast was poured with this dish. An excellent pairing.

Main course was a Mixed Grill with Whole Leg, Smoked Tenderloin and Garlic Sausage served with slow roasted Cannellini Beans  and Caramelized Brussel Sprouts. This was another outstanding dish. We were dissecting the brussel sprouts trying to figure of how they cooked them. We decided that they must have been caramelized whole and then very thinly sliced.  At this point I was getting full so have the this plate boxed up for take out. The sausage reeked of garlic which I loved. I need to find out where the bought the sausage.  The wine with this dish was a 2009 Terzolo, Teran (grape) from  Porec, Istria.

Dessert was a cheese plate drizzled with honey. Nothing to get to excited about. I wasn't even over enthused with the selection of cheeses. They poured a 2006 Milos, Plavac Mali, with this course.

At the beginning of the dinner, a couple of people that I was sitting with complained about the small sizes of the potion. By the end of the meal everyone had "doggie" bags to take home.

September's Monthy Gathering of The Flock

Sunday, September 18, 2011

This months theme was interesting for some and a turn off for others. Bring your favorite wine (varietal). They were then put in random numbered  brown bags.  You received a piece of paper with the numbers on it and boxes to check of the different features of the wine, along with  what type and the cost. Out of 17 wines I got 8 correct. Stan got 11 correct. After the unveiling of the wines it was interesting to see what I missed. I got all the pinots correct. But a few I really should have and did not. I think I got into a tunnel vision mode and concentrated on the list of varietals that William had listed on the sheet of paper and did not stray from there. That was a big mistake. I just was not thinking.  I feel this happened to several people.  I will say it is difficult to tell the difference between Zinfandel and Sryrah in some bottles. They are so similar.

There were some very nice wines brought to this tasting. And it turned out quite well. William had built two long stands for the bottles with shelves and holes for the bottles to sit. He had the room for this type of table. Most people would not.

Patte got kabobs for the Olive Pit where she works, beef, chicken and shrimp. So we had a really good meal. As usual we had a nice variety of food and lots of it. Along with good wine and a very pleasant sun shiny day we all agreed it was a lot of fun.